Home sweet home: Hundreds of USS Farragut crew members return to Mayport after months-long deployment

Hundreds of men and women aboard the USS Farragut returned to the Naval Station Mayport Saturday morning.

Aleece Martinez was excited as she waited for her father to walk off the USS Farragut.

“Daddy, daddy,” Martinez said.

Her dad Alexander waved to the whole family while he was still aboard the ship.

He was among roughly 350 people who’d been deployed since September. They were sent to the South American and Caribbean region.

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Commander Master Chief Ervin Kelly also arrived Saturday.

His wife Kristen and Bri greeted him as he walked off the ramp.

“I was so excited to see him come home,” Kristen said.

Ervin and the members of the ship were tasked with stopping illicit or illegal drug trafficking.

Their ship, along with the U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement, was responsible for seizing cocaine worth roughly $220 million.

Though they did important work, Ervin said he is glad to back.

“It’s hard this is about my ninth or tenth deployment but it never gets easier. I’m just happy to be home,” Ervin said.

While she had to wait for other crewmembers to get off the ship, Aleece finally got to hug her dad Alexander.

“I want to go to the park,” Aleece said.

And while she said she wants to go to the park, her mom said her goal now that they’re all reunited is to spend time at home.

It’s something Alexander wants to do as well, but he also wants to celebrate something monumental that happened.

“Yeah I made chief,” Alexander said.

A position he’s happy to have.

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